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Raising the bar

What every parent needs to know about changes in the classroom

Across the country, parents are beginning to notice that today's classroom looks quite different from what they experienced in their own school days. From personalized learning technologies to new educational standards, teachers and administrators are using a variety of tools to ensure students are better prepared to succeed than ever before.

In this era of innovation in education, this school year will be particularly exciting, in part because states will be piloting assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the new set of kindergarten through twelfth grade national educational standards designed to improve students' readiness for college and future careers.

So just what do these changes mean for your kids?

Shift to new standards

The new standards are broken up by subject matter and grade level. These standards are a way to clearly communicate what is expected from students at each grade level. The goal in creating the common core standards is to get students, parents and teachers on the same page and working together to ensure each student is prepared to succeed in college and the workforce.

Utilizing technology

Schools nationwide are finding new ways to provide individually tailored lessons that meet the Common Core State Standards, often relying on a new generation of technology that help students learn and succeed at their own pace.

McGraw-Hill Education's Reading Wonders is one such tool. Available in both digital and print formats, it is the first kindergarten through sixth grade core reading program designed specifically for the new standards.

"Even before the advent of the Common Core, we knew that preparing students for the demands of college and careers required setting a solid foundation in skills such as reading comprehension and writing," said Christine Willig, senior vice president of products at McGraw-Hill School Education. "When the new standards emphasize the importance of these skills, we saw an opportunity to build an entirely new program that would address the Common Core requirements by leveraging recent research about how children learn, using cutting-edge digital tools."

Personalized learning

Education research has shown that instruction becomes more effective when tailored to students' unique learning styles and needs. However, as classrooms continue getting bigger delivering that sort of individual attention to students becomes more difficult.

With this in mind, Reading Wonders was built using entirely new educational technology, offering interconnected platforms personalized for students and teachers and accessible across any device.

Other digital learning tools use additional techniques to help students succeed. For example, McGraw-Hill Education's Learn Smart and FLEX Literacy each use "adaptive" technology to continually assess students' knowledge, skill and confidence levels to create a unique study path designed to help each student in the topics and concepts they need most.  This level of personalization previously was only available from a personal tutor. Learn Smart delivers this adaptive learning experience for a variety of high school subject areas, while FLEX Literacy incorporates it into a comprehensive, Common Core-specific reading and language arts intervention system for students in third through eighth grade.

Constant adaptation

In this ever-evolving educational landscape, keeping up with the changes can seem daunting - but it needn't be. Parents can rest assured that teachers are increasingly equipped with new technologies that ensure their students are getting the personalized attention they need to improve their chances for long-term success.

Story provided by Statepoint.net